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September 1, 2020
Habits

Three new venues are coming to Lindes Lane

Father and son team Joshua and Damon Rivers, co-owners of Brighton café CREAM, are bringing a Cajun restaurant, basement bar, and coffee and bagel shop to the Rundle Mall-adjacent alleyway.

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  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

After almost 12 months vacant, Lindes Lane – the wine bar within an activated alleyway in Rundle Mall – is under new ownership, with father-son team Joshua and Damon Rivers fitting out three new venues in the space.

Joshua founded hip-hop-themed café CREAM at Brighton five years ago and had been on the lookout for a new venture prior to COVID-19 hitting South Australia.

Remarks

The three new venues coming to Lindes Lane are scheduled to launch from early November.

Subscribe to CityMag for updates as the project progresses.

The pandemic saw a boon in trade for the suburban café, and so Josh and Damon, who came into CREAM as a business partner after it was established, decided to continue their pursuit for a follow-up venue.

Construction has begun at the site (much of the old Lindes Lane wine bar is being torn away, with the skeleton of the venue being left intact) and the underlying concepts for the project are set in stone. Some of the more superficial details, though, are not yet locked in.

The indoor section of the venue will be a Cajun-style dive bar and restaurant called Remy Lebeau’s.

“I’ll be cooking Cajun-style ‘low-end boil’, which is crustaceans like prawns or crabs, but usually crawfish, which I will use when they’re in season, and they’re cooked with andouille sausage, corn, potatoes,” Joshua explains.

“It’s served in a big bowl with a shit tonne of garlic butter and you eat with your hands. And we’ll get branded paper bibs as well.

“We’ll also do fried chicken to cover most people if they don’t like seafood. But it will be heavily Cajun themed, and we’ll look to do a Cajun-themed small festival where we’ll barbecue a pork on a rotisserie in the alley and serve it in pouches of bread with toppings.”

The venue will have six taps, which will be predominantly mainstream-style beers, including one produced specifically for the restaurant, and one tap dedicated to independent breweries.

Indoors will be booth seating for 40-50 people, and the laneway, which will be called The Lane of Love, will also act as a dining area for an additional 60 people.

Joshua hopes to make a mock front entrance to the laneway, and will run awnings and heaters down the length of the outdoor space.

 

The second concept is in the basement, with the former Bar Low Room being made over entirely.

It will be called The Cloakroom, with a pretend wardrobe acting as an entrance at the top of the stairs. (For the uninitiated, the Bar Low Room was hidden behind a fake fireplace.)

The bar will have an “LGBT-theme”, with queer icons lining the walls of the stairway, and a strong emphasis on inclusivity in the bar’s style of service.

“I’m a bisexual man, and the whole thing will be that, we had to live in the closet and had to come out, and now it’s your turn to come into the closet, come downstairs and enjoy what it is,” Joshua says.

“It’s not going to be anything like Mary’s, like with drag queens and Katy Perry all the time… Everyone in the community loves [that], I love it, but I want to add another offering to the community.

“So it’s going to really be a homage to when I was a young man and not out, to places like Sugar and the old Zhivago, where we could go and be ourself and not have to worry about societal pressures.”

Before Joshua was a barista and café owner, he worked primarily as a bartender, and The Cloakroom will be cocktail-focussed, with a deejay working to set the tone, with a maximum of 50 patrons in the space at a time.

“We’ll probably do nights, different themed nights, and activations. I want to try and make a Wednesday night thing for hospo and the LGBT community, on a Wednesday night, would be cool,” Joshua says.

The third and final piece of the project is one Joshua isn’t completely certain on yet, as the idea hasn’t come to council.

All things going to plan, Joshua hopes to operate a coffee and bagel shop from the front of the laneway, called CREAM Cheese.

“[We’ll position it] three metres from the top of the alleyway, a little shipping container that would open up,” Joshua explains.

CREAM Cheese was another pop-up idea that first surfaced at CREAM’s Brighton store.

“We’ll probably start with just coffee and pastries,” Joshua says.

“So if we can do CREAM Cheese and do bagels, great, awesome. If people want it. So this will operate from seven in the morning, then 11am [the fried chicken restaurant] would open up, and then downstairs would open up and close at two, so it would be a massive 7am ‘til 2am, big, big venture.”

Joshua hopes that the ground floor fried chicken restaurant concept will be ready to launch by early November, the basement bar will launch a month after that, and the CREAM Cheese bagel shop will be next in line, should the idea pass through council.

L-R: Joshua and Damon Rivers

 

For Joshua, the project is a coming to fruition of a long-held ambition to build a roster of venues under his stewardship, and succeeding in the gruelling hospitality industry without taking the kinds of shortcuts hospitality has become known for: workers suffering stolen wages and unpaid super.

“I was 24 when I opened [CREAM] up,” Joshua says.

“I was just a young man still, and I’d been worked by other people to the extent where it was like, ‘You’re using me to get somewhere.’’ Underpaying me or whatever, not paying super, whatever it was.

“I came right from that, and I was like, “I’m going to do it right.’ Because it can be done right.”

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